I owe a debt of gratitude to God and to Catholic Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute for saving my life not just once, but twice.

In 2016 I was suffering second degree heart block, an electrical malfunction in my heart. The doctors at NEHVI monitored me, caught the elusive malfunction and installed a pacemaker to keep my heart beating. I was 54 at the time and still had three children under twelve at home, who needed me.

Four years later, at the height of the pandemic, I began to feel like I had a bad flu. COVID testing was negative and I waited to feel better. Finally, my husband drove me to the Catholic Medical Center emergency department. I had not the flu but a massive staph infection resulting in sepsis. I was immediately admitted and antibiotics started as well as further testing which showed the infection located on the leads of the pacemaker as well as in one of my heart’s valves. As my blood pressure continually bottomed out, CMC’s chaplain came that first night to give me the Sacrament of the Sick.

Nurses sat with me throughout the nights monitoring my condition and I ended up in the ICU. I had fluid drained once from my heart and twice from my lungs as my body fought the infection. It took a while, but with the excellent care, the antibiotics, and many prayers and anointings, my condition became stable enough to undergo the removal of the pacemaker. It was risky business, but so necessary, and thankfully I was in the skillful hands of Dr. John. He and his team opted for a conservative surgery which would remove the pacemaker and the infected leads and then suction the infection from my valve. This would leave my heart intact giving it a chance to heal and hopefully avoid a valve replacement. Both surgeries were successful. An extended time on antibiotics took care of any remaining infection.

All in all I spent over a month in the hospital. In all that time, isolated from my family because of the pandemic, the nurses and doctors of CMC took amazing care of me. Never did I hear or bear impatience or frustration from anyone. Everyone, from the cleaning staff to the techs to the nurses to the doctors, and the chaplains, was so kind. Today, thanks be to God, my heart is healthy and He used the knowledge, skills, hearts and hands of the doctors of the New England Heart Institute and Catholic Medical Center to heal me completely. My family and I are so very grateful!

-Kathryn S., NEHVI Patient

“I would not be here if it weren’t for CMC. In 2017 I had a life threatening infection that damaged my heart and cardiac surgery was required to survive. At the time I lived in RI and was in a hospital there. My daughter, who lives in NH, knew about the heart program at CMC and strongly encouraged me get a second opinion with them.  Once I met the team, I knew I could trust them to take care of me. It’s been five years since my heart surgery and I’ve experienced many special days with my family & friends thanks to them. When I was sick I worried that I would never see my grandsons get older. Now they tower over me and beat me at every time we go golfing and fishing. It’s pretty incredible!”

“After my heart surgery I was discharged from the hospital with a pic line so I could continue IV antibiotics.  There was a problem with it and I was told to return to CMC immediately. Dr. Baribeau said it needed to be replaced and proceeded to replace it himself. I remember the nurse saying that having him do this was like having Tom Brady throw a pass in a high school football game. When he was done he wheeled me out to the lobby to talk with my family about what happened. Not many heart surgeons would take the time to do that, I was so impressed.”

– James Cappalli, NEHVI Patient

In March, 2012, I had a cardiac arrest in my home, an event that only 8% survive.  I was rushed to the CMC emergency room, through the quick actions of my wife and the Bedford Fire Department, and saved by a comprehensive trauma team. They all saved my life, and the ensuing weeks in the ICU and Cardiac Rehab restored my health and enabled me to work productively for another 7 years.

I have been followed since then by a wonderful doctor on the NEHVI staff and have had examinations and treatments by all levels of staff for more than 10 years, which has included 4 nights’ stay in the hospital at various times. The culture I witness at every level has been caring, competent and dedicated. 

– Larry G, NEHVI Patient

CMC has a long history of quality care in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to be taken care of by many of the wonderful physicians across multiple specialties and have been blessed with excellent outcomes. Above anything else I have consistently felt genuinely cared for and my providers were living up to the promises CMC makes to their patients.

– Kathleen P, NEHVI Patient

I am so very grateful for the care I received from Dr. Jinu John and his team at Catholic Medical Center. I am 32 years old and struggled for years with very debilitating cardiac arrhythmias. I could not work or drive a car, daily living was extremely challenging for me. Dr. John and his team took great care of me from the start. Each team member has been extremely thorough, highly skilled, professional, and very caring. I was lucky to be able to undergo a catheter ablation procedure this past April. Of course, I was nervous, and also had never had surgery before in my life. The morning of my surgery the Catholic Medical Center team was so kind to me, I honestly knew I was in good hands. Dr. John and his team skillfully operated on me for a long time, as I had many arrhythmias that needed to be fixed. I feel so much better now. I had not felt well in such a long time. I am beyond grateful for my healing at Catholic Medical Center. Thank you so very much for changing my life. 

– Michelle D, NEHVI Patient

CardioMEMS Testimonial
Gary Gorzelany
Jim Cappalli
Your Heart Team

Nearly two decades ago, Jean Jacques was diagnosed with a leaky aortic valve in her heart.  She was told
that, worst case scenario, she might need to have it replaced someday.  “I also have Hashimoto’s
disease,” says Jean of the progressive thyroid condition. “Everything is sluggish, especially when you
have an episode—or a ‘storm’ as they call them.”

Jean had one such storm last spring while in Florida.  Her doctor adjusted her meds and she attributed
her lingering fatigue to the busyness of life.  A few months later back in New Hampshire, she had an
abnormal EKG and developed palpitations.  

“I was getting ready to go back to Florida and my only symptom was palpitations. I went on Metoprolol
and it calmed them down,” she recalls. Jean had recently retired as a community health worker and
health educator who did outreach to Manchester’s homeless population. Even with her professional
experience, she didn’t think much of the palpitations, the fatigue, or the occasional shortness of breath,
which she assumed was asthma-related.  “I was explaining my symptoms away.” 

But CMC New England Heart & Vascular Institute cardiologist, Dr. Steven Beaudette, ordered further
testing which revealed a more serious situation. “The mild to moderate leakage [in my valve] had gone
to severe in a month.  The day before I was supposed to return to Florida he called me about surgery.”
Still, Jean wanted to take some time to decide what to do and discuss the options with her family.  Then,
she says, she got a sign.

“I had a picture of an angel hanging on the wall of my living room for years.  Overnight, it fell off the wall
and the prayer beads hanging from it went flying across the room.  I thought, ‘God’s trying to get my
attention. I’m not listening.  I’m listening now.’”

Her aortic valve was replaced November 16th by a team led by Dr. Gerald Sardella, one of four
cardiothoracic surgeons at CMC’s New England Heart & Vascular Institute.  From her tests and surgery
prep, to the procedure and recovery, Jean says “everyone was top notch.  You could see the caliber of
knowledge, expertise, and experience along with the human piece. Never did I think of going anywhere

That combination of skill and compassion is what makes the cardiac surgery program at the New
England Heart & Vascular Institute one of the top 50 in the country for 2023, as rated by Healthgrades. 
The program is also recognized by Healthgrades as a five-star recipient for coronary artery bypass
surgery and valve surgery, and it received an excellence award for cardiac surgery.  

“The specialty of cardiac surgery is constantly evolving and we have a very strong tradition here of
staying on the cutting edge,” says CMC Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery, Dr. David Caparrelli.  “When you
come to CMC for cardiac surgery, you can be confident you’re getting the most state-of-the-art care.” 
“With more than 60 providers, we have just about every aspect of cardiac care covered by someone
who is a leader in their field,” says New England Heart & Vascular Institute Executive Medical Director

Dr. Louis Fink. ”But we balance that technology and expertise with a culture of truly caring for our
patients. It’s a really great combination.”

Jean describes a sense of calm leading up to her surgery, as though she was surrounded by angels.  Marc
Guillemette, CMC’s Director of the Office of Catholic Identity, visited her daily. When Fr. Bartholomew
Ogumelu came into pray with her and her husband the night before surgery, “He picked out a prayer
about angels!  My husband squeezed my hand, I was crying in joy.” 

She felt informed every step of the way and knew what to expect when she woke up from surgery.  Just
three weeks later, Jean started cardiac rehabilitation to strengthen her heart and body. “The care I got
was the cream of the crop in expertise.  That’s why I advanced so quickly.”

“The team here works very well together and we’re able to communicate what the patient’s needs are,”
notes Dr. Caparrelli. “We also have a very strong relationship with those patients so moving forward
after heart surgery, we’re able to deliver excellent collaborative care.”
By mid-January Jean had a post-operative follow up with her cardiologist, Dr. Beaudette, and she was
cleared to go back to Florida.  

“I never was afraid. Never,” says Jean. “I was so at peace because I was in phenomenal hands and I
knew God had this all figured out.”

– Jean Jaques, NEHVI Patient

Recently, (Daniel) Ferrante went to St Joseph Hospital in Nashua, having difficulty breathing. “They thought it was my asthma, which I’ve had for 30, 35 years.” But his oxygen levels were very low and he had an echocardiogram at the hospital. “The tech who did my scan…she saw the hole in my heart.” Ferrante was diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (PFO). Ferrante was sent for a procedure to close his PFO. Dr. Fahad Gilani performed the hour-long procedure. Ferrante couldn’t believe how easy it was. “It didn’t take long at all! I was awake the whole time. And when I ‘woke up’, I could breathe! I didn’t know how good I could actually breathe. And now that I can breathe better, I have more energy.” Amazingly, Ferrante no longer suffers asthma symptoms.

– Daniel Ferrante, NEHVI Patient

“To me, it’s a great approach to have doctors talking to each other instead of staying in their own specialties, and just considering what a medication does for the problem they’re focused on,” says Stephen Gray, one of Dr. Jonathan Eddinger’s patients at the Center for Cardiometabolic Health & Preventive Cardiology. A few years ago, Gray and his friends would never talk about their health. These days, he chuckles, “it seems like we start our conversations with, ‘what’s wrong with you now.’” He is able to say, “I feel well.”

– Stephen Gray, NEHVI Patient

Imagine your surgeon offering you the option of open-heart surgery with little to no pain and possibly no opioids. Would you take it? Sixty-six year old Woullard Lett had to make that decision when planning for his surgery with Dr. David Caparrelli, a cardiac surgeon at CMC’s New England Heart & Vascular Institute. He would be the first patient in the Northeast to have this new technique and one of the first few in the world. “I’m an adventurous person but not necessarily a big risk taker,” Lett said. When Lett first got out of surgery, “My chest basically just felt numb, which was a strange feeling.  I could tap my hand on my chest and feel nothing. Now that I’m approaching three months after the surgery and the nerves are growing back, I can feel my chest again.”

– Woullard Lett, NEHVI Patient

Nashua ophthalmologist Charles Wingate, MD has performed his share of surgeries in his 46-year career. When it was his turn to need a surgeon, Dr. Wingate’s experience was made easier by having top-notch cardiac care available right here in New Hampshire. “When I first heard I needed heart surgery, I figured I’d wind up in Boston. Well, I have some advice for people: Don’t waste your time going south—we’ve got a gem right here at Catholic Medical Center.

– Charles Wingate, MD, NEHVI Patient

Football is a way of life for sixty year old John Trisciani, Defensive Line Coach for the St. Anselm Hawks. His calendar revolves around football season. So when he found out in May that he was going to need open heart surgery, knowing that he needed to report for football on August 8th, he was devastated. But he was reassured after meeting with New England Heart & Vascular Institute’s cardiothoracic surgeon David Caparrelli, MD. “He told me ‘OK, it’s the end of May. You need to be on the field August 8th. I’ll try to get you into surgery in two days. We’ll do it. I can have you ready for football August 1st.’” Trisciani couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “I mean, we had four days’ notice of having this major operation in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. But he got it done. My first day out of surgery, they’re walking me around. They were working me so hard to get me out in time. My experience was incredible. How well I was treated and how fortunate I was to get Dr. Caparrelli.”

– John Trisciani, NEHVI Patient

Like many other women, Paula Cavallo didn’t realize she was having a heart attack. She attributed her symptoms to GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), except, she remembers, “I also had an achy jaw that lasted for over an hour. My arms and wrists felt bad and I couldn’t snap out of it.” When Cavallo did go to the hospital, she found out she had suffered a sudden coronary artery dissection — or SCAD — heart attack. “I connected with Dr. Michelle Ouellette that night. I believe, truly, that’s why my life was saved,” Cavallo said. “My youngest just got married; my 10th grandchild and third great-grandchild are on the way. There are so many spiritual things happening to me and I feel like my mission isn’t done. If Dr. Ouellette hadn’t been there, having that knowledge and finding my SCAD, I don’t know if I would have survived.”

– Paula Cavallo, NEHVI Patient

“Dr. Capodilupo has meant the world. I mean it’s, just by doing the things that we have done, I almost feel back to normal…They are just phenomenal. I love them. I feel very lucky and blessed to have them on my team.”

– Gary Harper, NEHVI Heart failure patient

“I had had a cardiac arrest. I was rushed to Monadnock Community Hospital. About five minutes after that, the technicians came in and told me they need to send me up to CMC. It was never any question as far as where are we going? Who are we going to see? Everything was familiar to me. The bottom line of that situation was Monday I had heart catheterization, I had no blockages. Tuesday they installed a defibrillator and Wednesday I went home and that’s why I have the good fortune of being here 2.5 years later. I realize how fortunate I am knowing what the odds are outside of a hospital setting. I am in a rural area, but knowing that my physicians and all of the associated services through CMC are less than a half an hour away and I’m living where I want to live, I couldn’t ask for a better situation.”

– Gary Gorzelany, NEHVI Patient

“I definitely do have my life back now. There is nothing that is stopping me.”

– Cecelia Deschambault, NEHVI Patient WATCHMAN patient


Thank you to Dr. Yang! You gave me a second chance to be a great dad and husband. I’m working hard to make the most of the 2nd chance! The nurses were awesome as well the cardiac rehab team was the gap I needed from being discharged to regaining my full strength!!

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Dr. Westbrook did my surgery 31 years ago. My scar barely shows, he did an awesome job. He is one of my angels on earth ❤  thank you Dr. Westbrook.

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Dr. Westbrook and his staff are fantastic! They did a tissue valve preplacement and everything has been perfect since.  👍

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I have always received the greatest care from the Heart Institute from the nurses to my heart docs. Shout out to Dr. Connor Haugh! The best!

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Thank you Doctor Kim and all the Heart Doctors at CMC!! Also Marilyn Daley. I love you all. I thank for New England Heart!

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All of the providers, Heo, Fink, Caparrelli, Kim are terrific.
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Doctor Westbrook saved my husband. Cannot thank him enough.

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Dr. Westbrook saved my life with a 6 bypass open heart surgery. He is the best and I would recommend him to anyone.

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They are the best. After 14 years with the same dedicated team, I still have my husband. Thank you.

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Thank you Dr. Yang for saving my life and the dedicated team including nurses and cardiac therapists that showed me the road back! I am forever grateful!!!

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Dr. Westbrook did a triple bypass on me and I have been great ever since. I owe him my life.

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The CMC team did a fantastic job on me…..quadruple bypass……and I’m doing well
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They are the best! I am forever grateful to Dr. Capodilupo and the cardiac team.

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